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London, England (March 17, 2011): The General has received updated reports on Salvation Army work established during the past four years, briefly summarized as follows (dates in brackets indicate when work officially commenced):
Burundi (2007) – The work here is now part of the Rwanda and Burundi Command. Regular worship meetings are taking place, as are women’s and children’s activities. The first youth councils will take place in 2011. Burundi currently has 182 senior soldiers, 74 junior soldiers, 74 recruits and 319 adherent members.
Greece (2007) – The Salvation Army’s legal constitution in Greece has been recognized by the Greek authorities. Army ministry includes prison visitation, food distribution on soup runs, hospital visits and a ministry to trafficked women working in the red light district of Thessolonika. Regular Bible study takes place, as does an ‘open house’ event in the officers’ quarters. A newly commissioned Greek officer-couple (trained in London) will be appointed later in the year and it is hoped that their emphasis on corps work will give impetus to the development of a spiritual ministry in Greece. The work is part of the the Italy and Greece Command.
Namibia (2008) – Steady growth continues, with a number of senior and junior soldiers enrolled in 2010. Local officers have been commissioned. Namibia is under the direction of the Southern Africa Territory. Successful outreach activities took place during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup which was held in South Africa, attracting new families into the orbit of Salvation Army activity. Namibia currently has 54 senior soldiers, 42 junior soldiers and seven local officers.
Mali (2008) – Two new corps and two new societies have been established in the past year. Officers have been appointed from the Congo (Brazzaville) Territory to support the regional leaders and to run Sogoniko Corps. Mali has 54 senior soldiers, 27 junior soldiers, 34 recruits and 19 adherent members, as well as a growing number of people involved in singers’ groups, timbrels, home league, junior home league and other groups. The Mali Region reports to International Headquarters.
Mongolia (2008) – Great encouragement has come from the good beginnings the Army’s ministry has had in Mongolia, moving along under the careful supervision of the Korea Territory and led by a Korean officer-couple, Captain Lee, Min-ho and Captain Chang, Mi-hyun. A number of education programs are running, involving 150 students on a daily basis. Other community programs address diverse needs among the people. Work continues with regard to finalizing the legal registration of The Salvation Army in Mongolia, with the hope that the government will recognize the Army as a religious body, thus enabling it to have maximum impact in the country.
Nepal (2009) – The Army now has two centers of worship in Nepal – one in Kathmandu, with 12 soldiers and five adherent members, and the other in Goldhap, Jhapa District, with 25 soldiers and seven adherent members. Plans are in place for the opening of an outpost in Doramba, Ramechap District, where there are already 10 soldiers. A regular holiness meeting takes place each Saturday (Sunday is a normal working day in Nepal) and cottage prayer meetings take place during the week. A community training centre has been established, providing training in tailoring, crafts and the English language. Each class begins with a 15-minute devotional. These combined skills help Nepalese women to find employment and thus become self-sufficient. Nepal's work is under the direction of the India Eastern Territory.
Sierra Leone (2010) – The Army has been able to make use of radio and television opportunities as part of its evangelical outreach and the first outpost has been opened. Training sessions for local officers are taking place. Between May 2010 and February this year 68 senior soldiers were enrolled and a further 15 recruits are currently in preparation for soldiership. Sixteen newly trained local officers are preparing to take up their responsibilities. The Liberia Command supervises the work in Sierra Leone.
Nicaragua (2010) – A change of leadership has recently taken place for The Salvation Army in Nicaragua (part of the Latin America North Territory). There is every indication that steady growth can be anticipated. Four home cell groups are operating. More than 100 seekers have been registered and preparations are in place for the enrolment of eight senior soldiers and 12 junior soldiers.
Turks & Caicos Islands (2011) – A strong social emphasis formed the basis of early Salvation Army efforts on the Turks & Caicos Islands – including a school lunch program, senior transport program and family thrift store. These established a positive image for the Army in the community upon which an effective spiritual ministry is now being built. Around 60 people regularly attend the weekly Sunday worship meeting. School and door-to-door visitation are bringing the Army into contact with an increasing number of people. The Turks & Caicos Islands are part of the Caribbean Territory.
Solomon Islands (2011) – Though officially established only as recently as 1 February this year, Salvation Army work on the Solomon Islands shows great promise. Operating under supervision from the Papua New Guinea Territory, worship meetings involve a regular congregation of 60 people. Up to 30 people are participating in recruits’ classes and local officers have been commissioned. Two soldiers have applied for officer training and anticipate entering the Army’s training college in Papua New Guinea in January 2012. Various community needs present opportunities for The Salvation Army to become involved in a practical Christian ministry in the islands.
Middle East Region - There are also developments concerning Salvation Army work in the Middle East. The Salvation Army was officially established in Kuwait in 2008 and in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2010. The Army received excellent support and cooperation from St Andrew's Church in Dubai in the early days of exploration leading to the start of its work in Kuwait.
Three centers now operate – Abu Dhabi and Sharjah (both in the UAE) and Kuwait. In recent days regular Army meetings have also been taking place in Bahrain and Oman, though these activities remain on an informal basis for the time being and are not yet officially established as Salvation Army activity.
In view of the development that has taken place in the region in the past three years, and the obvious potential for further growth, the General has approved the proposal that the work in Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates shall be known, for Salvation Army purposes, as the Middle East Region as from 1 April 2011 (reporting directly to International Headquarters). Should the activities in Oman, Bahrain or other countries in that area move to official recognition, they will be included in the Middle East Region.
Majors Mike and Teresa Hawley, officers of the USA Southern Territory, will be the regional leaders – Major Mike Hawley serving as Regional Officer.
The General calls Salvationists and friends throughout the world to continue in prayer for God’s blessing upon these burgeoning expressions of Army ministry in so many different parts of the world.